Lyme Disease  Is   - - -

    1. Is there Lyme disease in Iowa?
    Yes! Up until recently the black-legged tick, formerly called the deer tick,
    was the only vector of Lyme disease. Research in the last 4 years has
    proven the Lone star tick and the American dog tick can also harbor the
    Borrelia bacteria. In fact the Lone star tick transmits "Master's Disease",
    nearly identical to Lyme disease symptoms. Scientists have not proven
    the dog tick can transmit the disease to humans, yet. Research is
    currently under way to find an answer.

    Reporting Ld cases is mandatory! Your doctor is required to report all
    cases that meet the CDC surveillance criteria: (1) Erythema migrans
    rash, or; (2) One late manifestation (musculoskeletal, nervous or
    cardiovascular system) and laboratory confirmation of infection. Cases
    are reported to the county health department, the Iowa Department of
    Public Health, and the CDC.

    Often, if a doctor suspects Ld following a tick bite, and knowing the
    antibody type tests take 30 days to give an effective reading, a doctor will
    administer antibiotics without diagnosing and reporting it.

    Plus, consider the fact that prior to 2004, Iowa, like many other states,
    had its own criteria for recording cases of Lyme and it was too restrictive,
    leaving out most diagnosed cases, and keeping the number of reported
    cases low. This led health care professionals to believe Lyme was not a
    serious health threat, often assuming it was an unlikely diagnosis in
    Iowa. Consequently Ld is still under-reported, under diagnosed and
    under treated in Iowa. Thus, it is not surprising that Iowa averages 20-30
    reported cases annually.

    2. How is early Lyme disease diagnosed?
    Earliest diagnosis of Lyme disease is from the characteristic erythema
    migrans (bulls-eye) rash which may begin a few days to a few weeks
    after a tick bite. This expanding pink rash may be clear in the center,
    taking on a bull's-eye appearance. Photograph it! Its unique appearance
    confirms a Lyme disease diagnosis. However it may appear as an
    irregular rash or multiple rashes. Antibiotic treatment must start
    immediately. The rash may be followed within a few days or weeks by flu-
    like symptoms; mild to severe headache, fever, general malaise,
    muscular aches and pains, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and less
    commonly, nausea, vomiting, and conjunctivitis. However, it is estimated
    20% to 40% of those infected do not get the erythema migrans rash, or
    the rash may be atypical, resembling sunburn or poison ivy.

    3.How is Lyme disease diagnosed if the patientdoes not
    have a rash and typical early symptoms?

    According to the CDC clinical diagnosis is necessary since symptoms
    vary greatly, it's often relapsing, and current laboratory tests for Lyme
    disease itself are unreliable, producing false positives and negatives.
    This is a multisystemic disease often mimicking other diseases.

    4.What is the treatment for Lyme disease?
    Lyme disease patients respond to certain antibiotics and treatment of
    early infection should be at least 8 weeks. Patients with late stage
    disease often require more extensive treatment than most medical
    literature indicates. An initial Jarish- Herxheimer reaction (a temporary
    worsening of symptoms) occurs and must be distinguished from
    antibiotic allergy. I mprovement from antibiotic therapy helps confirm the

    5.Why is Lyme disease controversial?
    There's debate in the medical community about what Lyme disease is and
    how long treatment should last. The confusion exists because of the lack
    of a definitive diagnostic test and the lack of a clinical definition of Lyme
    disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) definition was intended
    only for surveillance purposes, yet it is often mistakenly used to diagnose
    or fail to diagnose the disease. Further, there is no treatment protocol for
    Lyme disease approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

  • Often misdiagnosed as: Fibromyalgia, M.S., ALS (Lou Gherig's disease),
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Parkinsons Disease, Alzheimers,
    Depression, Arthritis, Auto Immune Disease, and many more illnesses. It
    is often called the "Great Imitator".

  • The second fastest growing infectious disease in the U.S.

  • Internationally known as Borreliosis because it caused by the bacteria:
    Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete.

  • An infection is caused by the bite of an infected tick. Initial symptoms after
    the tick bite are usually mild and go away with or without simple antibiotic
    treatment - leading to the myth that the disease is not serious.

  • Complicat ed. Problems occur if an infection is untreated, or is not treated
    quickly or long enough, allowing the spirochetes to disseminate
    throughout the body. The result can be a very serious multi system
    infection, potentially long-lasting and often difficult to treat.

  • A disease that can progress to disabling and debilitating symptoms
    and/or present life-threatening complications. Lyme disease symptoms
    must be treated early for quick recovery. Flu symptoms, and a rash at the
    bite (one rash looks like a bull's-eye, others look like bruises), painful
    joints and severe fatigue are often reported early signs, but do not always
    occur. Cardiac problems; joint, tendon and muscle pain; numbness;
    headaches; memory loss; and severe fatigue can occur at any time, along
    with many other disorders.

  • A risk for a nyone who spends time outdoors in tick habitat in the spring,
    summer and fall.

  • A potential threat If you are an outdoors person, live in the country, farm,
    engage in outdoor activit ies, have children, or have pets, you need to learn
    the facts about this disease, prevention tips, diagnosis and treatment

  • Transmitted by both the nymph and adult ticks. Peak periods are April
    through September, though unfed adults that live through the winter can
    bite on warm winter days. The Black-legged nymph is the size of a poppy
    seed, the adult the size of a sesame seed. Infection can be passed
    from the fluids of a tick through a cut or a scrape. Yet o nly about 50% of
    Lyme disease patients recall seeing the bite or the rash.
Prevention Tips

    1. Beware of ticks. Ticks do not hop, or fly, they crawl toward a host
    when detecting body heat, or carbon dioxide. Ticks live in weedy areas. Tall
    grass, leaf litter, low shrubs, underbrush, and field and trail edges are
    favored. In highly infected areas, lawns may have ticks.
    2. Wear long sleeves & long pants. Tuck the legs into your socks.
    Light-colored clothes make it easier to spot ticks.
    3. Stay in the middle of trails. Don't brush against leaves and weeds
    or hike through the underbrush.
    4. Use an insect repellent. Follow manufacturers directions. Look for
    ones containing 25-35% deet.
    5. Check for ticks often. Crawling ones can be brushed off carefully.
    6. Place clothes in a dryer. A 1/2 hr. dryer high heat cycle will destroy
    ticks which might be hiding in clothing,
    the scalp, and behind the ears.
    7. Do a thorough tick check. Ticks crawl upward until they are
    stopped. Check legs, waistline, bra line, and armpits, and ask a family
    member to help check scalp, back, etc.
    8. Use repellents and check your pets before they enter the house
    for crawling or attached ticks.
    9. Hunters and trappers should hang animal carcasses away
    from buildings.
    Put a bucket of bleach water under the animal to catch
    any ticks falling off. Wear rubber gloves when field dressing or handling
    meat to minimize chances for infection.
***Disclaimer: The information provided on this web site should not take the place of any quality medical care. It is provided for patient
information only. ILDA-ED does not engage in rendering medical services.

Copyright © 2007 - 2023 Iowa Lyme Disease Association (ILDA). All Rights Reserved.
Tick  Removal

  • ASSEMBLE A TICK KIT containing: pointed tweezers or a tick- lifting tool, a magnifying glass, a small vial (a film container is good), and an
  • DON'T PANIC. Your chances of being infected are reported to occur at the end of the tick feeding cycle which may take hours.
  • DO NOT USE a hot match head, nail polish or Vaseline on the tick. The tick will regurgitate and transmit infection.
  • REMOVE THE TICK. Grasp the tick firmly by the head with the tweezers as close to your skin as possible. Avoid squeezing the tick's
    abdomen. Pull straight out. Don't twist.
  • SAVE THE TICK i n a container with a piece of damp tissue or a blade of grass. Refrigerate it , mark the date and where the bite occurred , and
    watch for any unusual symptoms in the next 30 days. The tick can be sent for testing through your doctor's office if any early Lyme symptoms
  • CLEAN THE BITE AREA. Blot the bite area with antiseptic. If any tick mouth parts remain in the skin, be sure to tell your doctor.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY with soap and water.
  • CHECK WITH A PHYSICIAN as soon as possible.
  • REMOVING TICKS FROM YOUR PETS. Pull the tick out carefully with a tweezers, or tick-lifting tool. Save the tick and check with your
    veterinarian for further action. Don't let your pets run free in tall grass fields or in woods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Iowa Lyme Disease Association - Education
Education - Patient Support - Medical Updates
P.O. Box 221
Brighton, IA 52540
[email protected]
Welcome! We are friends and parents brought together because Lyme disease has inflicted us, our children, other family members, or friends. Our purpose is to
educate with the facts about Lyme disease, its diagnosis and treatment and to provide support for patients and others wanting more information. Our information
is supported by credible research and we will keep you updated on any new research that pertains to Lyme disease. Treatment options are listed and links
provided so you can educate yourself and your physician about Lyme disease. Lyme knowledgeable doctors are few in Iowa We strongly support working and
educating your treating physician. Links are provided to search for a Lyme literate doctor. Lastly we provide patient support and encourage
interaction among
patients and
action by patients to support Lyme disease awareness.